Spring 2019 Admissions Update
Dr. Sidney A. McPhee | January 14, 2019
AdmissionsSeveral bold admissions initiatives have been key to our ongoing efforts to both sustain our operations and fuel our plans for growth. Fall is the busiest season for recruiting high school seniors. We have eight recruiters in the Office of Undergraduate Recruitment who cover Tennessee and the greater geographical area served by the Regional Scholars program. In addition to working Preview Days and the True Blue Tour, these recruiters staffed tables at 128 recruitment fairs across their territories and made hundreds of visits to high schools where they met with students and parents, presented the benefits of an MTSU degree, and worked with high school teachers and guidance counselors to spread the True Blue word.
In the Fall 2018 semester, we added a True Blue Tour date to serve the students here in Rutherford County. In 14 tour stops across Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Kentucky, we met with 1,352 students and an additional 1,890 family members. That’s a 13 percent growth in student attendance.
Our on-campus recruitment events are our Preview Days, where students get an extended tour and meet with advisors, faculty, and the dean. This fall we had three Preview Days where we hosted 691 students— again, a 13 percent increase.
In addition to Preview Days, Admissions provides two tours of campus each weekday, as well as regularly scheduled Saturday tours throughout the semester (and additional housing tours for students interested in seeing on-campus housing options). We also schedule special tours upon request. This past fall, our Blue Elite tour guides walked approximately 1,010 miles while providing tours of our beautiful campus to more than 7,000 guests!
All of this hard work has resulted in increases in applications. We have made scholarship offers to 2,054 students who had at least a 25 ACT and 3.5 high school GPA. That’s more than a 17 percent increase over offers we made by this point last year.
This spring, we will turn our attention to converting those admitted students into enrolled students and will be visiting high schools with a particular focus on meeting with high school juniors with the objective of making them our entering freshmen in 2020.
Transfer recruiters will be working with community college partners to enroll more transfer students than any other institution in Tennessee.
A Campus without BordersNext, MTSU’s independent governing board voted in December to expand our regional scholarship plan that offers qualifying out-of-state scholars with a discounted tuition rate. Previously under the “radius 250” or “R250” plan, qualifying applicants graduating from a high school in a county within 250 miles of MTSU in any direction were eligible to receive almost half off of their out-of-state tuition costs. This geography, which still applies, includes portions of Illinois, Indiana, South Carolina, and Ohio (Cincinnati). The board’s recent vote expanded the out-of-state discount program to ALSO include qualifying students from anywhere in each of the eight states that touch Tennessee (even sharing a small border like Missouri).
Major Scholarship EnhancementFinally, last October, I announced that MTSU would substantially increase the value and broaden eligibility of its Presidential Scholarship, a move that will more than double the amount awarded to some high-ability freshmen who enroll for this fall.
The Presidential Scholarship will increase to $18,000 in total value, paid out to eligible incoming freshmen at $4,500 a year for four years.
Students must have a 3.5 high school GPA and score between 25 and 29 on the ACT to qualify for the expanded award.
MTSU guarantees the scholarship to all students who apply to the University before Dec. 1 each year and meet the eligibility criteria.
With these enhancements, the Presidential Scholarship becomes the largest guaranteed academic award given by any public university in Tennessee to students with these credentials.
For Tennessee residents, when combined with the Hope Lottery Scholarship provided by the state, it will substantially reduce the cost of tuition for these high-ability students to attend MTSU.
The Presidential Scholarship previously only paid $4,000 a year to students with ACT scores of 28 and 29.
The expanded award now replaces two of MTSU’s previous guaranteed scholarships: True Blue, which paid $3,000 a year to students scoring 26 or 27 on the ACT, and Provost, which paid out $2,000 a year to students with an ACT score of 25.
MTSU will continue to offer students making an ACT score of 30 and above, along with at least a 3.5 high school GPA, our guaranteed Trustees Scholarship, which pays $20,000 in four annual installments of $5,000.
Students scoring at least 29 on the ACT and with a high school GPA at 3.5 and above can apply for MTSU’s highest academic award, the Buchanan Fellowship, a competitive and selective full-tuition scholarship through the University Honors College.
This expanded Presidential Scholarship award will begin with freshmen entering in the Fall 2019 semester.
We feel strongly that MTSU, as a major comprehensive university with a broad array of top-notch majors, is the best choice for these high-ability students. Enhancing this scholarship will make it even more practical and affordable for them to pursue their higher education goals on our beautiful campus.
The University reallocated existing funds in our budget to pay for the scholarship enhancements. MTSU is also exploring additional changes that could be in place as soon as the Fall 2020 semester.